Background/aims: A trophic role of gastrin has been convincingly demonstrated in the oxyntic mucosa of the stomach, but is still a matter of debate in the lower gastrointestinal tract.
Methods: In order to examine the role of circulating gastrin in colorectal adenoma and carcinoma fasting serum gastrin concentrations were determined in 351 patients undergoing complete colonoscopy.
Results: In comparison to controls (n = 145) more patients with either polyps (n = 125) or colorectal carcinoma (n = 81) have slightly increased serum gastrin concentrations, leading to an increased mean, but no change in median serum gastrin levels. In 3 patients preoperatively increased serum gastrin concentrations were normalized after surgical removal of the polyp and/or tumor, suggesting a local release of gastrin from the polyp/tumor. Gastrin concentrations do not correlate with the histopathological classification or malignant potential of adenomatous polyps.
Conclusion: In view of these findings a significant role of circulating endogenous gastrin in human colorectal carcinogenesis seems to be unlikely.